As the Alaska legislature returns to Juneau for the start of the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers will again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety bills. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever in the new year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence, and after a year of increased gun sales, continued police violence, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence.
A top priority for lawmakers should be passing secure storage legislation, which requires firearms to be stored locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. Secure storage legislation helps prevent unintentional shootings and firearm suicides — which account for nearly 70% of all gun deaths in the state.
What to know about gun violence in Alaska:
- Alaska has the highest rate of gun deaths in the country. On average, nearly 173 people are shot and killed with a gun every year. The rate of gun deaths in Alaska increased 20% in the last decade, compared to an 18% increase nationwide.
- Alaska has the third highest rate of gun suicides in the country — including the highest rate of gun suicide among American Indians/Alaska Natives in the country and the highest rate of youth firearm suicide rates in the country.
- An average of 48 people in Alaska die by gun homicide every year; 69% of all homicides in Alaska involve a gun. Black people in Alaska are five times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people.
Statistics about gun violence in Alaska are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how Alaska gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.
If you are interested in talking to an Alaska Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer about their priorities, please don’t hesitate to reach out.